Pre-Launch Field Medical Education Leads to 1.5x Increase in Treatment Adoption
The Veeva Pulse Field Trends Report includes an analysis of over 600 million HCP interactions and activities from more than 80% of commercial biopharma field teams worldwide, the largest industry benchmark of its kind on HCP engagement. The recent report shares for the first time for the biopharma industry clear data demonstrating the impact of field medical on clinical practice in a launch setting:
As new therapies gain complexity healthcare professionals (HCPs) need more time with field medical teams. New research in Veeva’s Medical Pulse Field Trends Report shows that is time well spent as disease state education before a launch correlates to a measurable increase in treatment adoption.
Although KOLs say they want more time with field medical teams, 70% engage with just one. MSLs have, trusted relationships with their KOLs, but there seems to be an opportunity for more targeted scientific exchange. Fragmented KOL data, an overreliance on established experts, and poor insights into omnichannel engagement and content effectiveness can all contribute to these blind spots.
Whether your company is launching a new treatment or optimizing your post-launch engagement strategy, your medical affairs teams can improve the way they target, engage, and measure interactions with HCPs. The right tools, processes, and data can help leverage field engagement:
- Expand the KOL universe
- Better plan and track KOL engagement
- Understand impact by capturing the right data
Here’s how to make that happen.
Expand your KOL universe
Limiting your KOL interaction to established relationships hampers field medical’s ability to deliver diverse medical insights back to the organization. A narrow scope of scientific exchange can have significant implications across numerous areas, including clinical development programs, product launch strategy, scientific alignment, and ultimately, getting the right treatments to the right patients.
“The traditional approach to expert engagement was very fragmented,” says Rishi Ohri, senior director of digital excellence, and medical affairs, at Astellas. “We used a wide range of different solutions across different teams and different therapeutic areas to plan and engage with experts. Getting all of the pieces of the puzzle into one place is very important to us.”
Field medical’s priority is now to revisit the way it identifies KOLs. The often manual process – usually in spreadsheets – is cumbersome. This can prevent cross-team collaboration, insight sharing, and identification of new KOLs like digital opinion leaders, community leaders, and emerging experts. It is also difficult for MSLs to get a true understanding of a KOL’s influence, interests, and affiliations because this information is more dynamic than traditional sources, such as clinical trials or scientific publications.
Ensure your field medical team is set up for success by:
- Leveraging industry data to identify important KOLs with the highest potential impact in the target treatment area (TA).
- Creating a data-driven picture of each KOL, including their latest research, ongoing trials, professional networks, scientific communication, and social media activity.
- Accessing unique data sets, e.g., local congresses, patient associations, and community leaders, to expand beyond traditional KOLs.
Once you have identified the right experts, it’s time to define your engagement strategy.
Plan and track KOL engagement
It’s critical to prioritize KOLs, focusing on experts with the most influence while nurturing existing relationships and reaching out to new experts. This starts by defining clear and measurable goals, and ensuring teams are equipped with the appropriate tools to achieve them. It’s about giving field medicals the data they need to validate their KOL selection without overlooking or deprioritizing key stakeholders.
Combining real-time intelligence with objective, enterprise-wide CRM data helps field medical teams to optimize their approach to profiling and segmenting scientific and medical experts. MSLs can then target relevant HCPs, track scientific and digital activities in real time, and personalize engagements by understanding their relevant interests. This allows MSLs to establish new relationships and improve engagements across the entire HCP journey from awareness to advocacy.
Once data-driven segmentation and prioritization are complete, collaborative stakeholder planning should focus on:
- Coordinating interactions across teams
- Understanding how KOLs align with strategic imperatives
- Identifying education gaps and how to address them
- Bringing medical insights and activity data back to the organization
- Enabling AI-generated “next best actions” that help field medical react to new insights
As you execute your omnichannel engagement plans – including the creation and delivery of impactful medical content – you can now gauge what KOLs want and need and adjust plans accordingly.
Capture the right data to understand the impact
According to Veeva data, 30% of global experts, as identified in Veeva Link Key People, have no recorded interactions with MSLs at all. Whether teams are missing these KOLs in mapping exercises or fail to record interactions, the result is the same – measuring the impact and connecting it to broader insights across the organization is impossible.
Combining HCP intelligence data with CRM activity data can help you measure the impact of your expert engagement strategy, improve scientific engagement, and ensure key medical insights reach the broader organization for a clearer understanding of how HCPs want to be supported.
Making this work may require a mindset shift within your organization. Leona Blustein, senior director, U.S. medical affairs operations and medical information at Idorsia Pharmaceuticals says, “we want to create CRM that’s an added advantage for what the MSLs are doing out in the field, and not just think of CRM as a place where they log interactions and that’s it. We want it to be a tool for them to build out their plans, and help them understand the next action they need to take, what resources are available to them, and how to best utilize it.”
A unified CRM suite makes it easier for teams to work from the same information, ensuring an accurate and holistic view of HCP interactions. This approach creates the backbone of engagement, bringing together all intelligence to create visibility across functions, and establishing a more coordinated experience for stakeholders.
Drive modern KOL engagement for impact
A connected, data-driven approach to KOL engagement helps field medical teams access new data about experts quickly, prioritizes engagement based on true influence, and drives medical insights back into the business.
This approach ensures that field medical teams are creating the impact that matters most, delivering valuable scientific insights back to the enterprise and improving the customer experience at the same time.
Read more in Veeva’s Medical Pulse Field Trends Report for an in-depth analysis of the impact of field medical on clinical practice in a launch setting.
About the author:
Christoph Bug, MD, PhD, MBA
Accomplished pharma expert with a passion for Medical Affairs, believing that strong Medical functions make companies more successful AND improve patient outcomes.